Lunch in Kindergarten -- SWH Added. More SWH Added.

Updated on July 30, 2017
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
24 answers

Some background:

My 5 year old attended half-day preschool for over two years. She ate lunch that I packed and was picked up around 12:30pm to take a nap at home. The teachers sat with the kids in preschool and made sure the kids ate their "main" dish, fruits, and veggies before eating snack foods also packed by the parents. She came home after having eaten most of her lunch. Usually, the only thing left in the lunchbox were some veggies.

Currently, my daughter is enrolled in summer camp run by her new school. The counselors sit with the kids, but do not remind them to eat their main dish, fruits, and veggies, etc. like the preschool teachers, which I guess is not unusual in kinder/TK.

My daughter has been coming home with her lunch barely touched. For instance, yesterday she came home having had a few mouse bites of the sandwich, and her veggies and fruit were completely untouched. She can't be not hungry, because she doesn't have breakfast and if she has breakfast, it's something small.

What can I do to get her to eat more?

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So What Happened?

Many of you suggested easy to eat foods like string cheese, bite size sandwiches, etc. I already do! I have been using a lunch box with 6 compartments -- dairy, veggies, fruit, grains, protein, and smaller compartment for dips/dressing. I usually cut up the fruits and slice the veggies for her. For example, yesterday, I packed her a sandwich, cucumber slices, cubed nectarine, babybel cheese, and cubed sweet potatoes. I haven't been packing her snack foods because she hasn't been eating what she's supposed to eat.

Also, on the way home from school, I have her try to finish her lunch in the car. No additional snacks given before dinner.

Snacks are given at school at 9am and another one in the afternoon, not sure what time exactly. Since I found out that the school has been giving her junk for snacks (chocolate pudding, gummies, etc.), I've been packing her morning snacks, which consists of something like hummus and crackers, fruit, yogurt, etc. For afternoon snacks, I tell her to finish her lunch unless I'm picking her up right after lunch, in which case she finishes it in the car on the way home.

This morning I told her absolutely no screen time unless she eats most of her lunch. It worked, but not sure if I should use this tactic long term. I've already been talking to her about finishing her lunch and I'll continue to do that regularly.

I seriously doubt that I'm giving her too much food. I haven't increased the quantity since she started summer camp. I give her a little of everything. In the past, she's eaten everything I packed her for lunch then asked to eat more at home.

Also, I'm not the only parent packing her snacks. Some of the moms from her preschool whose kids also attend the summer camp are doing the same thing. Yeah, we seem like we're being controlling/micromanaging with food, but can you blame us? The kids' snack list, which the school provides on daily basis as to what the kids were offered during snack time listed the following one day: chocolate pudding, gummy worms, oreos, popsicle, and lollipop. This is in just ONE day!

I get that it's difficult to prepare healthy snacks for 100+ kids. I don't expect the school to do anything about it. At the same time, I'm not willing to let my daughter eat junk all day either. That much sugar is just unhealthy not to mention how terrible sugar is for the teeth. With that said, I will keep in mind the issue of eating disorders.

As for her breakfast, I'm not going to force that on her because she seems to be the type who just can't eat in the morning. Luckily, her morning snack time is early in the morning at 9am. One reason why I want her eating something healthier during snack time rather than junk like chocolate pudding. Chocolate pudding at 9am is a bit much.

There's only a month more of summer camp left so the silver lining is that this is temporary.

I'll go with the suggestion of no snacks at home unless most of lunch is eaten as a consequence rather than no screen time.

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J.W.

answers from Harrisburg on

So are you saying that she is eating the snack food you send and not the main dish? If that's the case, don't send a snack.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

If there was a guidebook for how to make sure your child grows up to have an eating disorder, you'd prob be following it pretty closely...

She's forced to eat different food from her peers at morning snack -she may feel isolated, different, embarrassed.

You may have already set the stage for a battle royale of control. If you're overthinking her eating this much, I'd be shocked if you didn't micromanage other aspects. She CAN control what she does and doesn't eat when she's at school. She may be doing it simply because she can.

Additionally, your punishments don't really have anything to do with eating. No screen time for not eating???? You are BEGGING for disaster here.

Please let your child figure out when she is or isn't hungry. You're crazy focused on lunch, and sound annoyed with the school people, yet you admit that in the morning when YOU could supervise, she doesn't eat...

There's def a problem here, and it's not your daughter's lunch.

If she's not growing appropriately, seek professional help such as feeding therapy.

Beyond that, leave the issue alone. After a good long break of talking about food all the time, send her to school after a good breakfast with a cheerful "have a good day and fill your tummy up at lunch so you're not hungry."

Let HER hunger be her guide, not your pre-conceived notions of what/when/how much you want her to eat.

I know it may seem harsh, but I lost a friend to an eating disorder as a teen... I also had a very close friend in college that was in the middle of YEARS of therapy with mixed eating disorders. I can tell that you are parenting with the best of intentions and out of love and concern, but please consider my advice - she's going to end up with a very messed up relationship with food.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I simply dont micromanage how much my kids eat. I make sure they have healthy food available. I set up their school lunch accounts so that they can't buy treats. Then I leave it up to them to eat or deal with the natural consequence.

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J.☯.

answers from Springfield on

I just read you SWH, and I'm wondering if her lunch simply more food than she needs. I'm not sure I would want that much food for lunch, and she has a morning and afternoon snack on top of the lunch.

I remember talking to our pediatrician about lunches once. I felt like my kids were being picky and not eating their fruit. She suggested I focus on giving them a healthy breakfast and dinner and not be too concerned about lunch. That really changed my perspective. I realized I wasn't going to be able to control lunch, so I packed them good foods and let it go. Breakfast and dinner are still my domain, so I try to make them good.

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

One of the issues that kids face as they grow out of the carefully supervised preschool scenarios is that lunch time is less supervised (not for safety, but for what each kid is eating). Lunch time only gets busier and busier as the kids progress to elementary school, middle school, etc. Lunch time can be noisy, full of talking and laughing kids, and activity. It's easy to get distracted.

I suggest sending bite size things for your daughter. Cut the sandwich into little squares. Send cherry tomatoes or strawberry halves or grapes - things that can be picked up with one hand. Send little cheese cubes.

You also might try buying a small lunch box that is divided into little subsections. Lunch time can seem overwhelming to some kids, and a box with small sections with small pieces of easily-eaten food might be less intimidating.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I will address it from the K perspective and how it works at our elementary school.

I've been subbing 17 years and K has been all day for the last 16 years.

K's eat lunch last at 1230 because when they go through the lunch line, they are slower due to making lunch choices in line. (1 entree, 2 sides) MANY K's bring lunch from home and they go directly to the tables assigned for their teachers (more time to eat if you bring lunch because when you buy, you go through the line which can take up to 5 minutes).

Typically we have 2 teachers on duty for lunch along with 2-3 parents that watch over the children, remind them to eat, open any containers they need help with, etc. A LOT of children sit and talk during this free time and need to be reminded to eat. I see a lot of lunches being thrown out or going back home. Lunch break is 30 minutes and that includes the walk to the lunchroom, going through the line and wrapping up about 5 minutes til 1pm to line up, go back to the classroom to put lunch boxes away, get jackets if needed, potty break and go outside for recess for a full 30 minutes.

The K's do have an extra snack time around 1030am with a recess break.

My suggestion is to pack foods easy to eat. I see variations from meats, cheeses, peanut butter, yogurt to hot thermos with leftovers from the night before, hot dogs, nuggets, etc. Some children do eat everything they have when others that have to be hungry are not eating. It takes a little time and practice for them to get used to the routine. We do come around and say.. you have 10 minutes to finish your meal, 5 minutes, etc. in order to help them with the time.

Best wishes to your little one!

PS: My daughter, now 22, ALWAYS had a small meal after school even through high school. I had plenty of things she liked ready to go for her when she got home and not too big to ruin her dinner appetite.

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T.H.

answers from Kansas City on

Okay, well first of all it's summer and it's hot. She may want to eat less when it's hot especially if her camp is outside or they take them outside a lot.

Having her finish her lunch in the car home is a good idea if she's hungry. Personally, I would not however tell her screen time is related to her eating food. The two don't really correlate ya know. I'm all for natural consequences. If you don't want to offer her another snack because she hans't finished her lunch, okay, that seems like a fairly natural consequence. Personally, I would probably offer my kid a different snack that was still healthier. Sometimes we want options. Or grace.

Also, are you letting her have some opinions over what is in her lunch? Maybe her tastes have changed? Let her pick out some of things that go in her lunch. At the very least let her at least pick out fruits and veggies from the grocery store to be packed in her lunch that week.

In the meantime start packing smaller lunches. The bottom line is she's not eating what you pack and probably that means quite a bit of waste at the end of the day. Pack smaller lunches for now and maybe she'll eat it all and then that will be happier for everyone. If she consistently eats smaller lunches maybe she'll eventually ask for for more. I really wouldn't worry about it. She's fine and we all go through phases where we eat more/less, more of certain things, less of certain things, etc.

I know that transition is hard. You want your baby to be happy and healthy and as adults we know the importance of a full tummy on concentration levels, mood, etc. so that can make us as parents a little crazed at times...but the truth is you have to let some stuff go. She will not starve herself at camp and she will not starve herself at school in the fall. She has to figure her own stuff out and she will. You have to let some things slide and take deep breaths. I'm not judging you, I get it...it's HARD to see our babies grow up and take control of their own lives and it happens, little by little...and personally I thought it started happening at a faster rate after they started elementary school, but you can do this.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Ditto TF below. I also worked as a classroom/lunch/recess aide for three years in this age group and everything she says is spot on.
Also, don't let people make you feel bad about "no breakfast." When I was a kid if I ate in the morning before school I was SICK all morning. Even as an adult I can't really eat until after ten AM. This is common in kids (and grown people) and is why schools often have "snack recess" or "brunch" at around that time of day. If your daughter can't do breakfast just make sure she has a healthy mid morning snack.

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E.J.

answers from Chicago on

Another ditto for T.F.

I work in the lunch room for 1st-3rd graders.
They are so excited to let loose and see their friends they forget to eat.
We have 'silent lunch' the last 5-7 minutes of lunch to stop them from talking (and hopefully eat), but it doesn't always work. Many times when I announce silent lunch the kids tell me "but I just got started!" Then they try to cram it all in for those last five minutes...yikes.

I have been asked to 'make sure a kid eats' but there are only four of us and 100+ of them in each grade...so I do try and watch but.......other kids need me too.

We also have a 10:30 ish snack time, and many times kids eat their sandwiches then and finish whatever is left in their lunch box at lunch time. Our lunch is only 20 minutes.

I would talk to her about what she feels she could eat at lunch. She will see what other kids have and get ideas. We see a lot of cheese, yogurt and meat cubes.
Maybe also ask her about snack time..that might be best time to get the nutrition in if she is still in classroom (and focused).

Keep talking to her about how to eat.
I hated when my kids figured out to throw away their lunch......sigh to hide what they ate (or didn't). At least you know what she is having for now.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Do they have snacks? How late does the camp run? They may be providing morning or afternoon snacks for the kids that she's filling up on, and kids can get pretty chatty/excited/distracted at lunch time. Because you can't be there to supervised what she eats at lunch, I would focus on what you can control, which is breakfast. Do your best to get her up early enough that she has time to eat, and figure out some options that she likes, even if it's a meal that one normally wouldn't eat in the morning. That way, you know you've sent her off with some good nutrition and if she doesn't eat much of her lunch, you can make up for it when she gets home with a hearty snack and a healthy dinner.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

She's probably just really distracted by socializing and playing with her peers during lunch time. It's pretty typical. I don't think you can make her eat anything, and I don't think its good for school staff to be nagging kids to eat either. It can get to be a battle, or a power struggle, or a shell game pretty easily. Kids end up throwing a lot of food away at school. You can pack small lunches and keep it all healthy. You can give her the opportunity to eat it at home after school in a quieter space. If there's some kind of privilege, treat, or something she asks for, you can say "yes, after you eat a little lunch, then . . ." but I wouldn't make it into a big deal at all. I would keep offering some healthy breakfast favorites and let it go. There was an age around 3-5, my kids would eat either a decent lunch or a decent dinner, but rarely both on the same day. One meal was almost always "picked at" Eventually, their appetites picked up to a more regular pattern, probably when they were hitting a growth spurt

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

Your initial question is, what can I do to get her to eat more. Really, you don't need to. You are giving her healthy foods to eat, and that's what counts. She is eating a healthy snack and healthy foods at lunch. That's more important than the quantity.

It's really important for her to listen to her body. If she says she isn't hungry, it's really important for her to stop eating. Make sure you aren't teaching her to eat if she isn't hungry. By punishing her for not finishing her lunch, you might be sending her the message that she must eat, even if she isn't hungry.

Kids can eat twice as much food as adults one day and nothing more than 2 bites the next. It doesn't always make sense to adults, but it's important to trust them. If she's hungry, she'll eat. You're giving her healthy foods, so you're doing your part. I would check with her to make sure she's not getting tired of the foods in her lunch. Make some changes if she needs or wants them. But let her not finish her lunch if she's not hungry.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

At school there isn't anything you can do. She's going to be distracted and all sorts of wanting to go play instead of sit down and eat.

I suggest you have a mini meal ready for her when she gets out of school. I took food with me when I went to pick up the grand kids, they were starving.

I stopped thinking about packing a lunch because it was just a waste of time. Once I got the kids on the low income food plan at school they just ate lunch there. They'd drink their milk, eat a few bites of this and that, then they'd dump the rest in the trash.

She won't starve and you can help by having a good sturdy snack for her, high protein, low carbs. The carbs will interfere with her being hungry at dinner but the protein will be used quickly.

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S.L.

answers from Denver on

My dd hardly ever ate her lunch at that age and I did have her eat it when she got home. She wasn't a breakfast eater either. Actually she's not much of an eater even now and she's a teenager. There are so many distractions when they are in the school lunch room....I never expected her to eat much.
I always made sure she got a really good dinner.
I really kind of gave up on her eating well at school. I started giving her protein cookies that I made myself on the way to school. She survived! But again, she's just not a big eater.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I think it's unreasonable to expect staff to urge children to eat. I do. It's not feasible in a large group, first of all. Secondly, there is a push-back against the "clean plate club" idea that many of us grew up with because we now have so many overweight kids (and adults) that there should be no prize for eating more than the others.

I'm more concerned that your daughter is heading out for the day not having eaten more breakfast. She needs decent energy for the day, and that includes protein and ideally some healthy fat. I don't know what "something small" means (what it contains), but I do know that "she doesn't have breakfast" is a recipe for disaster. If you can't get your child to eat at home with just the one kid to supervise, I think you're asking an awful lot of camp staff and cafeteria monitors who have large groups to manage.

I think you have to start NOW to get your daughter up an hour earlier or whatever it takes, for her to get a decent breakfast before she heads out the door. If she doesn't eat the second she wakes up, that's fine - but then she has to get up earlier and eat before she leaves. If that means she's late for camp, fine. If it means she doesn't get to go to the park or the beach on the weekend, fine. And "breakfast" doesn't mean dry cereal or a granola bar or a piece of toast - it means the fruit and whole milk yogurt and scrambled eggs or nutrient-dense pancakes/French toast (not just carbs) that will fuel her for the day. If she doesn't like those foods, then give her lunch or dinner in the morning - PB&J on an apple, turkey wrap, a turkey burger on whole grain bread, fish tacos, a protein-rich smoothie with added fruits/veggies, healthy pizza with whole grain crust and turkey meatballs and real cheese and some veggies hidden in the sauce, anything with protein and fat in it (to give her long-lasting energy, not the quick burst from all carbs, especially white carbs).

My guess is that she's distracted in the morning so she doesn't it. She's distracted at camp, so she doesn't eat. Even if she has a weight problem, she's got to have fuel. Your car doesn't run on no gas and no oil, and your child doesn't either - she can be taught to understand this. In fact, it's quite possible that she's eating so little that her metabolism has slowed down (starvation mode) and so she really doesn't feel hungry.

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

Please reconsider the idea that you should be controlling how much your daughter eats. I know it seemed natural to me to supervise my children's intake, but now I know more.

There are two things that we should never try to control: how much our children eat and how they toilet train. We can give them opportunities, seamlessly woven into their routines and opportunities. But when we make an issue of them, through multiple discussions, rewards or punishments, serious harm ensues for too of precious ones follow. We can teach our children to hide things from us. Or lie to us. Or even worse, develop an unhealthy attitude about eating, resulting in an eating disorder.

All my best.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

"She doesn't have breakfast and if she has breakfast it's something small."

That is not a sentence that should be used to describe a 5-year-old! A grown woman executive rushing off to work, "grabbing coffee on the way", sure. But not a young child.

It is a parent's job to make sure a child receives proper nutrition. So, when she is with you - breakfast and dinner - make sure she eats plenty of protein, plenty of vegetables, etc.

The hustle bustle excitement of school lunch with friends, will never be her most nutritious meal, at any age!

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H.W.

answers from Portland on

If you are sending 'snack foods' (treats) stop. It's like setting the table for dinner, putting out the main course AND a dish of ice cream on the table. Poor choices are too easy.

They sit and talk at lunch, from my experience. I'd pack small bites sandwich, cut up fruit, veg and cheese. Pack a toothpick for her to eat the pieces with. When school is over, she snacks directly out of her lunch box, no sweet treats. My son would sometimes eat only his yogurt at lunch and still be hungry... guess what buddy? There's a sandwich in there. You eat that first before anything else is offered. She'll eventually either learn to manage her time or learn that if she doesn't want to eat a sandwich later, eat the good stuff at lunch time.

Per your ETA: when I mentioned 'snack foods', I was thinking pudding cups, fruit gummies and other sorts of craptastic food with zero nutrition. Sounds like your snacks are the healthy kind, and good for you for having a healthy substitutes. When I worked at places with USDA funding, we did serve juice as a 'fruit' (I lobbied for real fruit whenever possible) and graham crackers for snacks and that was still too much sugar for the kids. They need what you are providing, not just empty calories.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Mine leave the healthy snacks too. Quite frankly, anyone who has the option to pick a treat over a healthy less treat-like snack will (I know I do).

I think you've tried the right tactics. Mine would not eat cucumbers or cubed sweet potato. The other kids will not have these things (not in my experience) so they will just pull out whatever you've put in that the other kids are pulling out.

I did granola bars. I did raisins (mine ate those the first few years). Cheese string. Graham crackers (not very healthy but better than some). Appleasauces were a hit. Early years - a nice apple or grapes would get eaten.

As for what after-care programs (mine didn't do summer programs but went to an after care program at school) - they served junk - treats like pudding etc. I had to let that go. My kids saw the other kids eating pudding - the wanted the pudding.

What I learned (what worked for me) was letting it go. At home, before our meal when they were ravenous, fruits and baby carrots, etc. We had a healthy meal and then again, healthier snacks before bed. Mine all ate breakfast - so that's hard. Can you do a smoothie? Something with some yogurt and fruit (and other stuff added in over time that she'd eat). What about not having a snack before bed - so she's ravenous when she wakes up (maybe you already do this). My husband hates breakfast, but he will eat a piece of toast. Muffins (homemade) are a great thing to send with kids. You can make healthy ones - my sister does this. All her kids ate them.

This was a battle I just let go. Mine all ate their good food initially, but as the years went on they didn't. So I did as you do - eat when get home and starving.

Good luck - I know it's hard.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I just read your SWH and other's answers. I think you are doing fine and the lunch and snack you pack is great. It's too bad they offer so much junk food at the camp, but what can you do? At least she gets more healthy food at home. I say just keep reminding her daily you expect her to do better about eating at lunchtime and not to be so distracted by the other kids.
Original: You have to work on her to understand you expect her to eat more at lunchtime. Many kids get very social at lunch and are silly with their friends and just forget to eat. My daughter finished 1st grade last year and so I understand how common this problem is! I have gone a few times each year to eat with her, and as I sit with her I spend the entire time reminding kids to eat! They simply forget! I tell my daughter I expect her to eat her lunch...or most of it...and to NOT spend her lunchtime talking and socializing so much. In the morning I would tell her "At lunch today make sure to eat your sandwich and veggies first." At the end of the day I ask her how she did eating lunch. She caught on that I expected her to focus on eating and then she started remembering to do better at lunchtime. This last year she did great most of the time. So my suggestion is to talk to your daughter about it, join her for lunch every once in a while, and keep reminding her. Also -- don't pack too much food and don't pack junk food. Keep it simple.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I think it's unreasonable to expect staff to urge children to eat. I do. It's not feasible in a large group, first of all. Secondly, there is a push-back against the "clean plate club" idea that many of us grew up with because we now have so many overweight kids (and adults) that there should be no prize for eating more than the others.

I'm more concerned that your daughter is heading out for the day not having eaten more breakfast. She needs decent energy for the day, and that includes protein and ideally some healthy fat. I don't know what "something small" means (what it contains), but I do know that "she doesn't have breakfast" is a recipe for disaster. If you can't get your child to eat at home with just the one kid to supervise, I think you're asking an awful lot of camp staff and cafeteria monitors who have large groups to manage.

I think you have to start NOW to get your daughter up an hour earlier or whatever it takes, for her to get a decent breakfast before she heads out the door. If she doesn't eat the second she wakes up, that's fine - but then she has to get up earlier and eat before she leaves. If that means she's late for camp, fine. If it means she doesn't get to go to the park or the beach on the weekend, fine. And "breakfast" doesn't mean dry cereal or a granola bar or a piece of toast - it means the fruit and whole milk yogurt and scrambled eggs or nutrient-dense pancakes/French toast (not just carbs) that will fuel her for the day. If she doesn't like those foods, then give her lunch or dinner in the morning - PB&J on an apple, turkey wrap, a turkey burger on whole grain bread, fish tacos, a protein-rich smoothie with added fruits/veggies, healthy pizza with whole grain crust and turkey meatballs and real cheese and some veggies hidden in the sauce, anything with protein and fat in it (to give her long-lasting energy, not the quick burst from all carbs, especially white carbs).

My guess is that she's distracted in the morning so she doesn't it. She's distracted at camp, so she doesn't eat. Even if she has a weight problem, she's got to have fuel. Your car doesn't run on no gas and no oil, and your child doesn't either - she can be taught to understand this. In fact, it's quite possible that she's eating so little that her metabolism has slowed down (starvation mode) and so she really doesn't feel hungry.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

It's time to feed her some breakfast.
Get her up early enough that she's awake to eat (don't give her something that's rushed in 5 min).
Even if it's small, make sure it's protein packed.
She might be busy socializing at lunch - it's a common issue at first.
Tell her she needs to eat her lunch first and THEN talk with her friends.

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S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a kid who really only eats one meal a day. He has always been this way. Small snack at breakfast and lunch, then a healthy dinner. He is now a teen and is healthy in every way. He will eat if he is hungry, but he usually isn't until supper. I worried about his eating for years, until I realised that he eats when he is hungry. I stopped sending so much food, and then let him pack his own lunches. At 16 he might have a instant breakfast shake in the morning and an apple for lunch. He is fine, and your daughter probably is too.

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H.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I do not fully understand the concept of letting children eat however much in one sitting. Eating huge amounts for one meal or in a day that sabotages other subsequent meals affects the ability to eat 3 wholesome meals per day. Children need guidance. When my son, who is 6 years old now, was born, I was introduced, through a book, the French way of eating. Scheduled and portioned meals, veggies first without competing items alongside, and minimal snacking. A late afternoon snack may be needed because dinner is served at 8pm. Otherwise, snacks can be meal sabotagers. I offer veggies for snack. If he's hungry, he'll eat it. If not, he waits until meal time. Because my child has a healthy hunger for each meal, he actually enjoys the flavors, which happens when there is an appetite present. He eats pretty much anything I cook, like an adult. It would be a shame to make a nice meal, only to be rejected due to lack of hunger from an overly big meal or an unnecessary snack prior. I also make sure to switch things up frequently, so things aren't predictable and he's more likely not to get in a pattern of always wanting the same thing. He eats in a certain order (veggies, main, fruit). The palette is less likely to taste the yumminess in vegetables when full or after a more yummy or sweeter food. Each meal consists of the 3 elements with the thoughtful and tasty main containing protein, carbs, dairy. Other distracting options are not provided. When he eats lunch at school, the only rules are to eat the veggies first and then at least some of the main. The fruit is last and optional. If, at dinner, he wants more, he surely can but I don't let him overdo it or else he ends up skipping the next meal. I have come to understand him very well. He eats extremely healthy and well, has 3 good-sized meals a day, is growing well (and has outgrown a previous condition he was born with as predicted by his dr), and enjoys his meals. It may sound gross, but I additionally help gauge that he's eating enough through his bowel movements, which he usually has twice a day. He can eat and enjoy eggplant, squash, mushroms, broccoli, asparagus, etc, quinoa, couscous, wheat pastas, fish, various spices from cumin to garam to coriander, and much more. If he doesn't have an appetite to finish a meal, I don't offer other choices. He waits for the next meal. He will be just fine. Children are growing, but they don't need to be fed constantly or to be placed in situations where they end up eating when they're actually not that hungry. Hunger and appetite are ok. There's a saying, " hunger is the best ingredient". Their tummies are the size of their fist. Food and meals should be respected and enjoyed. Kids need guidance, self-control, and the opportunity to be educated on healthy eating and the opportunities to have an appetite for each meal so they can better practice what they've learned.

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